Penny: Shaq And I Would Have Been Top-Five NBA Duo

Penny Hardaway believes that he and Shaquille O'Neal would have achieved all-time greatness had they remained teammates

Tiki and Tierney
April 04, 2019 - 4:51 pm
Penny Hardaway

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From 1993-96, Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway were teammates in Orlando. During that time, they were All-Stars and All-NBA players, played in two Eastern Conference Finals and reached one NBA Finals. They were – in their early-mid-20s – one of the best duos in the NBA.

And then, in the blink of an eye, their run ended. 

O’Neal signed with the Lakers in 1996, and Hardaway suffered various knee and ankle injuries that zapped him of his athleticism. 

If Penny and Shaq had stayed together – and healthy – where would they have ranked among all-time NBA duos?

“Man, I know we would definitely be top five,” Hardaway said on Tiki & Tierney. “If we both stayed healthy – you have to win championships because (that’s) the barometer for everybody. You have to win championships. I felt like we would have. I think he and I would have been able to be in the top-five duos.”

Instead, Shaq went on to win four NBA championships: three with Kobe Bryant and one with Dwyane Wade. Hardaway, meanwhile, played for the Suns, Knicks and Heat before retiring in 2007.

NBA fans are left to wonder what could have been.

“We had a special situation in our first couple years making it to the NBA Finals,”  Hardaway said. “He left to go to the Lakers, but if we would have stayed together and stayed on that trajectory we were headed to, it would have been big-time.”

Click below to listen to Hardaway’s interview in its entirety.